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Advocating Dvorak

CmdrTaco posted more than 9 years ago | from the no-not-the-columnist-who-thinks-i'm-his-nemesis dept.

Input Devices 732

zeroweb writes "A group of three faithful Dvorak promoters have launched new website at DvZine.org. The big thing here is a Comic (available in print, pdf and html) describing the history of QWERTY and Dvorak, how and why one should make the switch, and real-life stories of the converted. If you are thinking about making the switch, this could push you over the edge. My favorite line: "It could be the difference between working in your garden at 70 or wearing wrist braces at 40." As someone who started wearing wrist braces at 23, I couldn't agree more - I read this comic, changed my keyboard layout and have been happier ever since."

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funny you should say that (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12811697)

I had to wear wrist braces because of my QWERTY keyboard as well. Sincerly, Kevin Mitnick

assholes (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12811699)

what assfucks they are

Oh, That Dvorak! (5, Funny)

njfuzzy (734116) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811703)

At first, I thought this was about that horrible Internet Troll who calls himself a journalist.

Not that Dvorak either! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12811918)

I thought it was about that composer guy.

In which case I advocate "From the New World".

Re:Oh, That Dvorak! (1)

CrimsonScythe (876496) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811919)

Me too. My first thought was:
Just because he was kind of right about one single thing in his career is no reason to advocate the man.

Dvorak is very good (3, Interesting)

treff89 (874098) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811708)

Dvorak is an awesomekeyboard layout. I changed from QWERTY about 6 months ago, and have never looked back. Once you swap, you can see that the only things QWERTY is good for is: 1) typing QWERTY really quickly; 2) typing the word "typewriter" (all in the top row). But seriously, DVORAK is _so_ much more efficient, and typing actually becomes a pleasure. The world's fastest typist uses it as well. All it takes is one quick switch of your keycaps using a paddlepop stick, and you're away. _Every_ major operating system, be it Linuses, Windows, OS X, BSD or et cetera., includes drivers. I recommend the change- the week or so of painfully slow typing is absolutely worth it!

Re:Dvorak is very good (1)

treff89 (874098) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811727)

Mistake not intended, I'm posting from a laptop whose spacebar has given up the ghost.. Yes, I do realise the irony of mistakes when talking about superior keyboard layouts. :P

Re:Dvorak is very good (2, Insightful)

odaen (766778) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811747)

I changed from Qwerty about a year to 2 years ago. Not sure exactly when. It's not about typing faster, it's about typing easier.

Might I recommend not changing the keycaps, it makes them uneven on most keyboards. The best bet is to get a sticky label and put the layout on the bottom edge of your monitor and learn not to look at the keys when you are typing.

If you use windows there is a registry which changesl your keys to dvorak at the driver level which means pretty much all games use the new layout (including Half-Life).

Re:Dvorak is very good (1)

treff89 (874098) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811768)

The separate layout just didn't work for me. I like to be able to look at the keys and see what will come out. Although my keycaps were uneven, all my typing has worn them down (quite sad) and plus - it's a sign of individuality!

Re:Dvorak is very good (1)

Haydn Fenton (752330) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811805)

I've only tried DVORAK once.. I must say it didn't take very long (less than a week) before I started to pick up speed and learned the locations of certain keys to the point where I was pretty confident in not needing to look, and right from the start it felt like a much, much easier and more comfortable layout to type with.
Unfortunately because I was using DVORAK and QWERTY frequently (college, and I used to swap back to QWERTY for when I came online, IM'ing was tediously slow otherwise), I never really got the whole hang of it and ended up ditching it completely a few days later.

I suggest if you're going to learn DVORAK, do it at a time when you don't need to use QWERTY, because you may end up swapping back to it too much and eventaully give up. Of course, once you can type with it proficiently, I can't imagine swapping between the two could cause much of a problem.

Re:Dvorak is very good (3, Insightful)

odaen (766778) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811921)

Actually for lots of people, now is a really good time to try and learn. It's the start of the Summer Holidays, and by the time you get back to School you'll be able to use qwerty without mucking up your dvorak knoledge. Just don't try to switch to Qwerty when you have trouble typing, it just makes it harder.

Re:Dvorak is very good (4, Funny)

njcoder (657816) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811825)

If you're a developer, imagine how much faster you'll be if Das Keyboard [daskeyboard.com] starts making blank Dvorak keyboards!!!

Even more fun. Imagine how silly people will feel when they sit down at your keyboard and try to type something.

Re:Dvorak is very good (4, Funny)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811847)

Hah, Dvorak's old hat man! It's so 1990s. I personally use the Gentoo keyboard, where my typing's 5-10% faster than Dvorak or Qwerty. That's because instead of it being one keyboard layout for everyone, the keys are actually reordered for every application in the most optimal layout.

With Qwerty or Dvorak, you have to use the same keys regardless of what the program is you're using them with. The "Q", for example, on a QWERTY keyboard, is always in the top left (on English language layouts. It's "A" that's in the top left for French "AZERTY" keyboards.)

However, with Gentoo, the keys move around. So, for example, in OpenOffice.org, because I have to type "O" a lot, the "O" is right there where the "D" is in a QWERTY keyboard. The "Q", on the other hand, is assigned to F2, because I rarely need it.

Some have criticised the layout, arguing that the 5% efficiency increase is more than offset by the fact that you have to spend a day compi^H^H^H^H^Hlearning the new layout. This may be a problem for some people, but if you do a lot of typing, it's obvious that this is much more efficient. And besides, you can always let it run overnight, with you learning how to type using the new layout when you'd normally be wasting time asleep.

You should try it. I find the best performance is with -funroll-fingers -O102.

Re:Dvorak is very good (3, Interesting)

johnrpenner (40054) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811916)


it IS very good -- i switched back in 1997 over christmas.
although the first two weeks were hell, having all the vowels
and the most statistically frequent consonants on the home row
really increases typing speed and comfort.

the things that have helped most with reducing RSI are:

1) using the dvorak layout for typing.

2) reprogram mouse to eliminate double-clicks, and

3) learning to play a musical instrument (e.g. bass guitar)
to force the muscles into definite 'other' contortions
than are required by using a mouse (handwriting would
also work).

(btw - this is typed using a dvorak layout).

Only going to work if it became standard (4, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811711)

Bottom line is the last thing I need at work is to not be able to use anyone else's computer because I'm use to a non-standard keyboard layout. I refuse to use shortcut keys on non-standard keyboards for the same reasons.

I've been working in IT for a good number of years now without needing wrist braces, all the while using QWERTY. I know a lot of other people who haven't suffered this fate. I'm not saying no one has ever had this problem but when you exaggerate risks like this its called FUD/scaremongering.

Re:Only going to work if it became standard (5, Informative)

treff89 (874098) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811750)

Dude, I use Dvorak full-time at home, and wherever else possible. Since I can touch-type, I can also quickly change the drivers. EVEN IF I must type with QWERTY, I have only lost a few WPM compared to when I used it all the time. Dvorak eclipses it in terms of speed by an exponential amount. Don't be so stubborn if you haven't tried it!

Re:Only going to work if it became standard (2, Funny)

James_Aguilar (890772) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811772)

Hey, have you ever tried jumping off a cliff without a parachute? It's really fun! I'll show you, as long as you go first. C'mon, man, you shouldn't be so stubborn about things you haven't tried!

Re:Only going to work if it became standard (2)

CaymanIslandCarpedie (868408) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811799)

Dvorak eclipses it in terms of speed by an exponential amount.

Do you know what "exponential" means? Dvorak sounds cool and I might try it, but I have a REALLY hard time believing the above. I can currently type around 50 wpm, so if I switch to Dvorak I should be expecting at least 2500 wpm?

Re:Only going to work if it became standard (1)

SparafucileMan (544171) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811856)

Do you? Could be a reallly slow exponential. ;) Today: 50wpm. 20 years: 55 wpm. 40: 63 wpm. If you live to 1000, you'd be typing dlfjk2082390823 wpm!

Re:Only going to work if it became standard (1)

CaymanIslandCarpedie (868408) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811928)

Yeah, as soon as I hit submit I knew I should have stated an "unless you mean an exponential of 1.000...1" clause ;-) You just cannot get away with any slips here ;-)

Re:Only going to work if it became standard (1)

Mysticalfruit (533341) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811769)

I'm not sure who wrote the program, maybe JWZ, but there used to be a program that would force you to take a 30 second break every 10 minutes. I think it was called "Wrist Saver" or something like that.

Re:Only going to work if it became standard (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12811935)

Its called "Old Bladder"

Re:Only going to work if it became standard (1)

Frit Mock (708952) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811813)

" Bottom line is the last thing I need at work is to not be able to use anyone else's computer because I'm use to a non-standard keyboard layout ...

I've been working in IT for a good number of years now ...
"

Can't you do your job remotely? This should work on any OS these days.

I for one, never touched anyone elses keyboard for years now.

Re:Only going to work if it became standard (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12811826)

You suck, your post itself isspreading FUD without fact. I wish I had some mod points left, and that /. had a -1: Factless modifier!

Re:Only going to work if it became standard (1)

LuisAnaya (865769) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811838)

I use a Kinesis http://www.kinesis-ergo.com/ [kinesis-ergo.com] keyboard at work and it is bad enough for people not to be able to use my computer, and it is in QWERTY. If I change to Dvorak, I'll have to carry another keyboard every time that tech support comes to work on my computer.

Re:Only going to work if it became standard (4, Interesting)

bigtallmofo (695287) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811840)

My history of typing (all on QWERTY):

First learned to type on my Commodore 64 when I was 10.
My first year of typing class in high school, I typed 70 WPM while my typing teacher typed 65 WPM.
My second year of typing class, I was up to about 90 WPM.
My third year of typing class, I was up to about 110 WPM.

I'm a 33-year old professional programmer with 15 years professional experience and now type over 130 WPM. I've never had a single problem with wrist or hand pain until about 3 months ago. I started having all kinds of numbness in my hand and pain in my wrist. Needless to say, I freaked out. The problem went from nothing to seriously impeding me in a matter of days.

Considering I never believed that carpal tunnel syndrome or other wrist problems existed previously, I was quite surprised. After a few weeks with fiddling with various things (using wrist straps at night, using Microsoft Natural Multimedia keyboard, taking B vitamins, etc.) I'm now symptom free. Pretty much the only thing I do now is use the MS Natural keyboard both at work and home and that seems to keep any problems at bay.

The bottom line is, just because you don't have any symptoms now doesn't mean that you won't sometime soon. Trust me, you'll be quite surprised if it happens.

"Comic" (2, Interesting)

Southpaw018 (793465) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811712)

It's not really funny...but it is interesting. And it makes some good points. The one thing I have to recommend to the /. crowd is taking a flathead screwdriver and popping the keys off your keyboard instead of glancing up at a propped-up layout. For me, it made things much more straightforward.

Really? (2, Interesting)

American In Berlin (892009) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811716)

Is there any scientifc proof that QWERTY or Dvorak have any advantages over each other?

I don't think so.

Re:Really? (1, Troll)

I_Human (781026) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811786)

I don't think so.

Are you serious? QWERTY was designed for old manual typewriters to slow typist down - otherwise when they went too quickly the metal would run into each other and jam up the machine. Dvorak is more suitable to PCs because they don't have to worry about the mechanism jamming up. Here's a web site that might shed a bit more light on it: http://dvorak.i-rox.com/ [i-rox.com]

Re:Really? (0, Redundant)

American In Berlin (892009) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811855)

In my eyes that is no scientific proof but just simple advertising.

Re:Really? (2, Interesting)

Mwongozi (176765) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811961)

Are you serious? QWERTY was designed for old manual typewriters to slow typist down - otherwise when they went too quickly the metal would run into each other and jam up the machine.

That's a myth [independent.org] .

Re:Really? (1)

Karma Farmer (595141) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811788)

Not from independent sources, no.

Re:Really? (1)

Halo- (175936) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811792)

I could mod you down, but instead I'll just politely suggest you RTFA. I'm not a Dvorak person, and I don't plan to become one, but the article actually has a lot of documented advantages complete with citations. Just sayin...

Re:Really? (1)

cecille (583022) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811797)

I don't know about scientific proof, but qwerty was designed for typewriters so the typists didn't wind up locking the arms(is that what they're called - you know...the little things with the letter on 'em) by typing too fast. That's why some of the the more used letters are in awkward places...like having a being typed with your little finger on the left - for most people a pretty weak area...or having the e on the top. so I can see why it might slow you down.

Re:Really? (1)

American In Berlin (892009) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811882)

Never thought that typing slower might actually be better for your health?

Yes, of course (4, Informative)

ToadMan8 (521480) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811878)

First, allow me to admonish your hasty conclusion.

On this page http://www.koniaris.com/dvorak/ [koniaris.com] there is a discussion about distance of finger movement. The test document was the Unabomber's Mannifesto. The results:

* Typing the Unabomber Manifesto in QWERTY costs about 5.7km (XY).
* Typing the Unabomber Manifesto in Dvorak costs about 3.3km (XY).

In terms of planar movement Dvorak is more efficient. Then, for the pain standpoint, one must decide for themselves if moving up a row (above home row) is more comfortable, or would one rather move down a row. Personally I hate that bottom row - it compounds what rock climbing does to my wrists. I am much more pain-free on Dvoark, and I still have the ability to switch mid-sentance back to qwerty and not think about it, making other peoples' computers easy.

There are a ton of studies of varying levels of scientific valitidy. This was my first decent result of quick google search. The bottom line is it's thought out, and thus better, but people don't want to re-learn 'till QWERTY hurts them.

Re:Really? (1)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811926)

I don't think it is. I can't cite them now because I don't have time to search for them, but studies have shown that proficient typists using qwerty keyboards are just as fast as proficient typists using Dvorak keybaords.

Check out the wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] for a good balanced look at both.

I made the switch years ago (5, Funny)

Underholdning (758194) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811718)

I'va nver bnee hpaiper in my lfie! Dovark hsa cahgned my tpyign seped imenmsly!

Not that Dvorak (1)

Rovaani (20023) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811720)

No, they are not defending that [pcmag.com] Dvorak.

And no, he didn't invent the layout either.

Actually... (2, Funny)

drivinghighway61 (812488) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811722)

I find it easier just to use the on-screen keyboard. No messing up because I can't see the keys. And just look: no ttypos!1

Staying away for now. (4, Interesting)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811726)

I stay away from such keyboards as Dvorak and "Natural". Not because they are a bad idea. Rather, it is because I only want to be able to have to know one keyboard. If I learn Dvorak, I'd still have to frequently use QWERTY due to the other keyboards I have to use that are still QWERTY this. Is it easy to be proficient at both and switch back-and-forth at ease, or does the confusion result in rmmre o erf rree rkjdkc yt wpodcxs?

Re:Staying away for now. (1)

toad3k (882007) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811765)

Yes, I am also curious about this. I am a programmer, and while I'd like to try dvorak, I need to know that I'll be able to switch between the two occasionally, when I need to.

Re:Staying away for now. (2, Informative)

vspazv (578657) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811802)

If you can touch type in dvorak you can just change the keyboard layout in the system settings while you use it. No need to change any hardware.

Just remember to change it back when you're done so you don't confuse the other users.

Re:Staying away for now. (1)

kulpinator (629554) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811836)

What he means is, is it psychologically easy to switch between layouts. I have heard (but am too lazy to look up references to) people saying that it can be difficult, and that you absolutely cannot learn good Dvorak without entirely switching to it for as long as it takes to really learn it.

Re:Staying away for now. (1)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811904)

"If you can touch type in dvorak you can just change the keyboard layout in the system settings while you use it. No need to change any hardware."

I run into plenty of computers that I have to use where the configuration options (including keyboard layout) are locked away and I cannot change them. These are the ones I would not be able to Dvorakify (Dvorakize?).

Re:Staying away for now. (2, Interesting)

fracai (796392) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811806)

When I took a QWERTY keyboarding course in high school PopSci or Discover or something ran an article on the Dvorak layout and I figured it was as good a time as any other to learn.

Maybe it was the practice in both layouts at the same time while learning, but I can switch between layouts pretty easily. I'll make a few mistakes in QWERTY at first, but I'll be up at a moderately fast pace soon enough. Switching back to Dvorak is a much faster change.

You'll definitely slow down at first while learning, but I doubt anyone would mix the layouts up while using one or the other.

The best answer is in TFA itself! (5, Funny)

zanderredux (564003) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811879)

I just love the following pro argument (on page 25):
Nobody worries that their English gets worse because they learned Spanish
This is sensacional! My english got so much mejor, ya no can hablar two lenguajes at same tiempo!

Re:Staying away for now. (1)

saterdaies (842986) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811938)

Yeah, and what's with those idiots who want me to learn a foreign language? Damn French people! They're probably behind this too!

Re:Staying away for now. (1)

nhavar (115351) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811958)

I stay away from such languages as Japanese and "French". Not because they are a bad idea. Rather, it is because I only want to be able to have to know one language. If I learn Japanese, I'd still have to frequently use English due to the other people I have to use that are still English this. Is it easy to be proficient at both and switch back-and-forth at ease, or does the confusion result in certains ont baisé vers le haut des capacités linguistiques?

So.... who wants to tell him? (3, Informative)

Grey Ninja (739021) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811731)

By tell him, I mean tell him that the Qwerty being designed to slow down your typing is nothing more than a myth? [utdallas.edu] . The layout is actually designed to between your two hands. [wikipedia.org]

Re:So.... who wants to tell him? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12811866)

You don't need to tell them. If you read the comic on the site, they tell *you* that.

Re:So.... who wants to tell him? (3, Informative)

mcgroarty (633843) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811886)

How about you read the comic and let them tell YOU that instead [mcgroarty.net] . (Right-hand column)

They already know.. (1)

schon (31600) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811889)

I read the comic, and they actually address this very issue, and say that it's impossible for that to be true, because there were no typists to slow down (after all, how can there be typists before the typewriter was invented?)

Perhaps you should have read the article?

Re:So.... who wants to tell him? (1)

Ian McBeth (862517) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811898)

You are correct in that the design wasn't intended to slow down the typist. However, the purpose of the layout and putting the keys on different hands was meant to prevent mechanical jamming before the advent of the modern electrical typewriter. Therefore Since the old machines wouldn't jam as often, in theory the design was intended to speed up the typeist this making them more productive.

Re:So.... who wants to tell him? (1)

stinerman (812158) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811930)

Sir, the wikipedia link you provide counters the utexas link regarding the "myth" of QWERTY being designed to slow down typing.

Re:So.... who wants to tell him? (1, Insightful)

I confirm I'm not a (720413) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811951)

tell him that the Qwerty being designed to slow down your typing is nothing more than a myth?

He knows - it's on p.3 of the comic. "He" (they) point out that when Sholes invented the typewriter - there weren't any typists to slow down. Sholes was responding to jams in his new-fangled keyboard, not to mythical too-fast typists.

Crackpots? (5, Insightful)

kzinti (9651) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811743)

I haven't RTFA yet (it's printing now), but I can tell you as a longtime Dvorak user that we're viewed as crackpots and we have little credibility with the QWERTY types. So I hope that if these guys are making medical claims that they have some real medical evidence to back up their claims, and not just the kind of anecdote mentioned in the Slashdot teaser. I've used Dvorak for 13 years and I can type faster than I could in QWERTY and the keyboard feels more comfortable. But that doesn't mean that it will be so for everybody, and it certainly doesn't mean that Dvorak will reduce anybody's likelihood of damaging their wrists. Caveat emptor.

Re:Crackpots? (1)

James_Aguilar (890772) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811821)

=/ Bad news. The article won't have any medical claims because there are none to be made. ?=(

Re:Crackpots? (1)

kzinti (9651) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811923)

It's even worse. The article has misspellings ("seperate") and factual errors. Page 2: "He decided his new keyboard would not need a number 1 key. 'They can just type I instead.'" In fact, the substitute for the 1 key on old typewriters was the l (el). That's how I learned to type. (A friend of mine who has been been typing for many years longer than me still types el for 1, even on her computer keyboards.)

After this comic NO ONE will think we're crackpots.

Software Switch? (1)

aslate (675607) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811746)

Right, i've seen a load of these articles and thought "Why not give it a try". I experimented with the letterless keyboard idea when it came up, so i have a keyboard without any letters on it.

Can i get a nice little program to re-map my keys for me, and all that i need to do is put the "letter-caps" back on the keys in the Dvorak layout?

Note to self: A keyless keyboard would be useless, perhaps letterless makes more sense.

Re:Software Switch? (1)

fracai (796392) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811849)

I'm not sure what you me by a program to re-may the keys.

Any current OS will have the ability to remap the keys for you.
Mac OS X, Windows, Linux... I've used Dvorak in each.

The only irritating part is how Windows and certain Linux brands insist on only making the change for new windows or, in the case of Windows, only for the current window (you have to make the change globally and then individually for each open window).

Re:Software Switch? (1)

fbartho (840012) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811964)

I've found that if you make the default layout Dvorak, things go much more smoothly... of course whenever anyone else uses my computer I can expect an initial cry for help and then repeated curses every time windows switches back to dvorak in a new window :P

*******************
Slashdot requires you to wait 2 minutes between each successful posting of a comment to allow everyone a fair chance at posting a comment.

It's been 3 minutes since you last successfully posted a comment

Re:Software Switch? (1)

One Childish N00b (780549) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811901)

Windows has drivers for DVORAK keyboard layouts, add support the same way you would any other keyboard layout (been so long since I've done it I don't really remember, though) - support for DVORAK layouts are also in the 'Peripherals > Keyboard' menu of the KDE Control Center.

Using Gnome, Apple or Zeta? Sorry, can't help you,but they're bound to have support, too, just poke around in the Keyboard options.

it depends (1)

fbartho (840012) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811911)

It obviously depends what operating system you are running under. If it is Windows XP you just need to go to the Control Panel -> Regional And Language Settings -> Languages -> Details This panel will let you add a new keyboard layout, set the shortcut keys to swap between the two, and set the default. If you use Some Unix distribution, you can usually find it under "Keyboard Layout" in the equivalent of the Control Panel. If you use Mac, well, I'm still waiting around for that torrent that was mentioned the other day here, and I'm too lazy to fire up pearPC to check it up, and too broke to own a Mac, but I remember changing it once... its somewhere in the Settings... I personally don't have keyboards where the keys are rearranged anymore because of that damned angled key problem, but wherever I go I remap the keys anyways, so I might as well have a letterless keyboard... lol, its actually worse/better than a letterless keyboard, because if I look at the keys, I have to ignore what I see written on them otherwise it will mess me up. If I were you, I'd use the letterless keyboard, and just pop up the onscreen keyboard to have a visual reference for you, and then once you get the hang of it you'll never go back :) If you really want to get a program to do it, I could probably write you a quick little script for Windows, just let me know.

To foreign readers... (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811762)

Anyone know if the dvorak layout is best suited for english? Or is the difference between character layouts as long as your language use the latin alphabet neglible? I figure the dvorak layout is based on statistics on how often letters are used in some language? And wonder if that difference is noticeable or not if you compare english to e.g. danish. Yes, one language will have some more letters occasionaly used, but besides that part.

Re:To foreign readers... (1)

Fermatprime (883412) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811846)

I have read somewhere (cryptography book?) that for most Indo-European and Romanic languages, the letter distribution is pretty similar to that of English. And I can't think of a language where there are words not containing vowels.

QWERTY embedded (1)

mister_llah (891540) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811763)

The sad thing is that Qwerty is rather embedded into our "culture" (so to speak) ... it'd be incredibly hard to make changes to a keyboard layout that EVERYONE knows how to use, and unless Dvorak becomes the standard, it's rather a good idea, perhaps, healthwise, but a bad idea business-wise.

The best way to make a change is to start teaching Dvorak typing systems in typing classes, making as slow change, it avoids culture shock and will allow IT to make a slower change (so it avoids IT shock, as well) ... just my two cents on it...

Re:QWERTY embedded (1)

Uptown Joe (819388) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811884)

"The sad thing is that Qwerty is rather embedded into our "culture" (so to speak) ... "

- It's also embedded into the BIOS of the computer and into any OS untill a new driver is introduced.

Re:QWERTY embedded (1)

mister_llah (891540) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811960)

I didn't even think about that, aye... a very good point... (though I don't imagine it'd be too difficult to make modifications to have the BIOS detect the type of KB, but that's another thing that'd need to sort of just be brought in)

My stats (1)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811773)

TypingTest.com [typingtest.com]

I just tried it and got 75 WPM on a Qwerty keyboard.

I've thought of DVORAK once or twice, but I've seen a couple of studies suggesting that if you're already a reasonably good typer (60-70 WPM or above) DVORAK's benefits are small.

Does it fit in the Toilet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12811874)

Oh crap!
The Java Crapplet wouldn't load.

One-Handed Keyboard: Best for Slashdotters (1)

strongmace (890237) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811778)

I think that the best keyboard for many slashdotters is probably a one-handed keyboard. It just so happens that ThinkGeek has one here. [thinkgeek.com]

...For all those special one-handed moments.

By the way, if anybody can figure out why it is called the FrogPad please enlighten us.

Re:One-Handed Keyboard: Best for Slashdotters (1)

sathia (797192) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811880)

..and for those who aren't sure to switch from qwerty to Dvorak and back, i suggest this keyboard:

http://www.daskeyboard.com/ [daskeyboard.com]

at least you can leave your screwdriver under the sink.

Wait a minute... (1)

Chainsaw (2302) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811780)

Exactly where are Å, Ä and Ö placed on a Dvorak keyboard?

Re:Wait a minute... (3, Informative)

nazh (604234) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811887)

Found some on this page http://www.mwbrooks.com/dvorak/national.html [mwbrooks.com] , as I was looking for a norwegian layout. There is a swedish layout there aswell.

The link to the norwegian dvorak layout is a bit wrong on the mwbrooks page the correct is http://www.stenling.no/dvorak/ [stenling.no]

You want to get rid of wrist pain? (1)

Sark666 (756464) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811791)

Work out, specifically with weights, as jogging is not going to work your wrists ;) Ya I know we all have our favourite wrist exercise but it's not enough. :)

I've been typing since I was using my c64 as a kid. I can type about 60 wpm. I always exercised in my youth but then stopped for a while in my twenties. A year or two in, my wrists started killing me. I'd take breaks and stretch my wrists but it would just limit the pain. I started using weights again and I haven't felt pain in years. I can pretty much type as long as I want without any strain or even the slightest feeling of pain/discomfort.

Besides people who are into playing sports, most people's physical activity stops after the mandatory grade 9 gym. This goes double for us geeks. So hit the weights and your wrists will thank you, not to mention all the other benefits.

On a side note, Some of my friends never used a computer before the late 90's never mind actually typing. That was in 98 and still none of them can type.

Is typing something similar to learning a new language, or learning guitar or piano as far as the brain is concerned. As adults, we can still learn new complex things, but can we still 'memory map' like the youngins do? Maybe it's incorrect to lump typing in the same category as playing the piano, but I believe it's a matter of 'hard wiring' this information. I wonder how quick I could actually adapt dvorak at my age in my 30's vs someone say in their teens. Would it screw up my traditional typing?

Re:You want to get rid of wrist pain? (1)

ID000001 (753578) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811909)

Do you realise you asked people who visit slashdot to work out?

Re:You want to get rid of wrist pain? (1)

offline_analogy (884889) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811944)

Exercising your wrists is a great way to eliminate the effects of typing stress - but I can't recommend enough taking up some sort of musical instrument as a hobby. I've been playing guitar since I was really small and I've never experienced any kind of wrist pains or stress. (I spend pretty much my entire week typing.) Playing guitar, or piano for that matter, forces you to move your hands and fingers in completely different ways. It's a rewarding pastime, too.

Whatever (2, Interesting)

Pedrito (94783) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811798)

I'm sure Dvorak is great and everything and I hope it helps people with CTS and whatever other wrist problems they might develop.

I already type about as fast I need to and when typing text (like this), I'm held up more by thinking about what I want to say than the keyboard.

I've been programming for 26 years (and obviously typing that long) and I've never had any wrist problems. I think part of that is because I never learned to type "correctly." I don't hold my hands in awkward positions and make sure they stay centered properly. I don't use certain fingers for certain keys. Whichever finger can get to the key most comfortable is the one that goes. For example, right now, I'm noticing that my right middle finger is doing more typing than any other (except the right thumb which is hitting the space bar), but when I shift my position or rotate my chair a bit, that'll all change.

I think what we need to advocate is that people stop taking typing classes and learning to put their hands in completely unnatural positions. Then it won't matter if you're using QWERTY, Dvorak, or whatever.

I can only use it when... (1)

ID000001 (753578) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811807)

Someone made a key maping program that will let me switch keyboard layout as easy as a click of a button. Maybe something of a hardware switch on the keyboard, or in between the keyboard and the computer like an extension cord. OR better yet, make a residant program translates key stroke in real time so every login to window/linux can be using a different keyboard layout without physcial change. (I peronsally don't care if the printing on the keys are wrong. I never look at the keyboard anyway.) but until those thing are available I simply can't just swithc. I need to use my computer at friends, at work, and at home. It would be difficult to change back and forth... and force people who use one of my computer to switch back and forth.
Better yet, have a website that I can visit that will immediatley translate keyboard layout. This is probably impossible but I can always dream!
Until those thing happens I can not see Dvorak going anywhere.

Re:I can only use it when... (1)

kahei (466208) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811949)

Your geek license is hereby revoked.

It will be restored to you when you demonstrate an understanding of commonly-available key layout switching features on Windows and Linux.

Have a nice day.

DVORAK for real world, SysAdmin/Programming uses? (4, Insightful)

Blymie (231220) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811815)

Someone should do a study of how fsck, dir, cd, ifconfig and other "stuff" works into dvorak.

These words often have none or few vowels.

One key line in the comic:

"Come on! How often do you type a semi-colon??? It's a wasted key! On the home row no less!"

Guess what ;) I type a _lot_ of semi-colons. Bash scripting, PERL coding, you name it.

Honestly, it would be amusing to see how DVORAK stacks up, when programming and sysadmin tasks are taken into account. DVORAK could be a detrement in these cases...

Fortean Times (1)

BigBadBus (653823) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811832)

The latest Fortean Times has an article debunking the claim that Dvorak is better and more efficient than Qwerty.

If you're wearing wrist braces (1)

cianduffy (742890) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811834)

Theres one of two things wrong with you:

You're not using your keyboard correctly. It can be any damn layout in the world, you just don't know how to position your hands, etc. I've been using a keyboard for 8 hours a day for 14 years. Its always been qwerty or qwertz. I've never had -any- problems. No carpal, no need for wrist braces, etc.

The other possibility is that you're, eh, doing something else while at the computer. Bet its slower to cyber on a dvorak keyboard, eh?

Dvorak might be good for your health (2, Informative)

zanderredux (564003) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811841)

But it breaks vi! What's the point??????

Using comics to scare people... (1)

DarthVeda (569302) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811842)

.. into believing everything you say...
Why does this feel so much like Jack Chick [chick.com] had a hand in this?

Re:Using comics to scare people... (1)

Speare (84249) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811914)

So are you saying that this keyboard comic is a Chicklet tract [google.com] ?

My findings (5, Interesting)

kahei (466208) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811851)


As someone who does a lot of typing and is willing to spend a lot of time and money on ergonomic stuff (because I'm lazy and stupid), I have typed on a lot of strange things over the years to a pretty high rate of wpm. My findings have been:

1 -- The shift from Dvorak to Qwerty did not greatly increase my speed or accuracy. It made me a bit more comfortable, but learning it was total torture for about 2 months.

2 -- Learning Dvorak does not mean you forget Qwerty. I can flip between them now -- in fact, the varying placement of the shift key gives me more trouble.

3 -- None of these layouts is designed for programming in curly-brace languages :)

4 -- The difference in using a well-shaped keyboard (KINESIS!) is much greater than that between different letter key layouts.

5 -- Much of the hand strain I have suffered has to do with reaching for nonletter keys (cursor keys, and the backspace key) -- fixed by a Kinesis, but not by Dvorak.

6 -- Habits and posture (not resting hand on the keyboard etc) count for about as much as the ergonomics of the actual keyboard.

My suggestion therefore is: first fix your posture and find a way to stop reaching around for the backspace and arrow keys. If you crave more efficiency, get a kinesis. If you STILL demand utter total perfection, try Dvorak, but by that point you will be putting in a fair bit of work for what you gain.

Other people's mileage may, of course, vary. There's no doubt that Dvorak is more efficient and comfy -- but there's a serious cost/benefit calculation to be made.

P.S. Yay for Kinesis.

You can use both (1)

PepeGSay (847429) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811852)

I use Dvorak on my computer at home, but use QWERTY on the laptop we have since my wife uses it. With Windows you can have a little tray icon to switch and I have that also so my wife can easily use my machine if she needs to.

Also, if you know QWERTY now then its pretty easy to switch between them once you learn Dvorak.

Losing speed - when does it come back? (2, Interesting)

mister_llah (891540) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811871)

I don't know, though, I have sort of developed (through time and natural, unconscious adaptation i.e. "practice", I suppose) ... a rather high typing rate.

I type about 120 words per minute right now, what I'd like to know from Qwerty turned Dvorak typists is...

How long does it take to get back up to your old speed?

Change the name (0, Flamebait)

kerrbear (163235) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811883)

Serviously, if you want people to use a method or product, give them a name they can pronounce. At least you can say QWERTY. Dvorak, how the heck do you say that if you're not from Russia?

Made the switch in '98 (1)

Daimaou (97573) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811897)

I switched to the Dvorak layout back in 1998. A lot of the documentation I read on it back then touted that it was faster and more comfortable.

I never noticed a speed gain in my typing, but I think that is because I think at the same rate as before. If I were typing documents that other people had written (as a secretary would) then I think I could be much faster.

As far as comfort goes, Dvorak is much more comfortable for me than QWERTY is. QWERTY makes my wrists hurt, but Dvorak doesn't. That alone was worth the switch.

The only real drawback to Dvorak is you can't type the word QWERTY with a simple roll of the left fingers anymore.

m`od up (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12811915)

th4n its Win3ows

Mirror here (2, Informative)

mcgroarty (633843) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811922)

I knew you guys would eat all the seed corn and spoil the fun!

Have a mirror [mcgroarty.net] .

Reading the comic... (1)

dame4jc (811440) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811924)

Why would someone go through all the trouble of creating this comic -- and not do any spellchecking?
  • Seperate => Separate
  • Machinest => Machinist
  • Supposidly => Supposedly
  • Remmington => Remington

Very informative comic though.

Linux and Dvorak (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12811939)

I use Dvorak exclusively for my personal PC and servers, at home and at work. One difficulty I have had is getting the login screen to default to a Dvorak layout. Any suggestions? When I enter KDE, then Dvorak starts nicely.

Wrist braces at 40? (1)

Megane (129182) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811946)

Nope, not for me, and been touch-typing since high school. Learned it the right way, too, back when it was still mostly for girls to become secretaries and typing pool droids.

If I have a problem with anything, it's that scrolly wheel on mice. It's less than comfortable to use that thing with my index finger. Sometimes I stand the mouse on its left side and use my thumb if I'm going to be doing nothing but scrolling for a minute or two. It would be great if it were under my thumb to begin with, but then maybe that might cause problems with just gripping the mouse. So it goes.

Minus 5, Trol7) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12811947)

'You see, even all along. *BSD Of all legi7imate The most. LLok at

Question for gamers... (1)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 9 years ago | (#12811948)

A question for gamers: Does Dvorak (or any other sort of alternative keyboard configuration) affect the mapping of game controls to letter keys?
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